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Who is afraid of Cross River super highway?

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Sir: Ethics, professionalism and the will to deliver justice, is a waste when there is no courage to do that which is right and fair. There is really no excuse to pass a wrong judgment; not even political pressure, death threats, poor existing standards, blind diplomacy, or supposed disguise to fostering unity. At the end of it all, what we do, the judgment we pass, positions we take, excuses we give; our actions and inactions, will all be judged by posterity.

Gone are the days when those at one end of the country claimed that what happened at the other side of the country do not concern them. For instance, they used to be a time when those in the southern and western part of the country, thought that the threats of desertification and the Boko Haram insurgency facing the Northern part of Nigeria would not get to them. Now the effects have spread to all the ends of the nation, living and threatening even the most interior southern, eastern and western part of the country in the form of cattle herdsmen attacks. It is on this basis that every one of us needs to be concerned at what happens in every part of the country.

It’s unfortunate that we have over the years not care about following due processes, obeying laws, engaging and taking the opinion of the community people, ensuring openness and fairness. This has been the trend of many Nigerian projects and programmes, which have robbed us of infrastructure and left us derailed, indebted, empty, poorer and angrier as a people, as the cohorts in power grow fatter from the loots, rapes and grabs from the poor.

This is the situation that is mirrored in the Cross River Super Highway, the 260km road stretching from Bakassi to Katsina-Ala-Benue State. Nobody is asking; where is the money coming from? Why the revocation and confiscation of community land and heritage without compensation plan? Why the governor has insisted a buffer zone or right of way of 10 kilometers from both side of the 200 meters wide road (along the 260km corridor) against the standard 50 meters right of way? Why have the EIA reports excluded the 20km right of way or is it meant for other projects?

Precious Ogechukwu is a research assistant at Climatters, Abuja.


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